Seeing CJ Stander playing for Ireland last weekend give one that sickening feeling about South African rugby and one wonder if we will ever be able to firstly keep our talented youngsters in the country and secondly keep South African rugby str0ng.
Stander have spoken out in the news papers this week that his decision to leave South Africa and find his place in Ireland was driven by an senior coach who advised him to change to hooker or otherwise he will never see a Springbok jersey. We know there are always two sides of a story, would like to hear the other one….
This week the news also broke that Springbok Marcell Coetzee is on his way to Ulster after the Super Rugby season, and although he will not be able to play for any other country one still feel that we loose so many players to the stronger euro. Coetzee is only 24 years old and the feeling I always had that even though people except that players must be allowed to make the money up north we loose a critical part of our development which players like Coetzee can give to the younger generation.
The quality players pool are starting to empty fast and getting competitive teams in our competition will get more difficult for countries in the south. Popular believe is that only South Africa is busy suffering this exodus but one just need to look New Zealand and Aussie rugby to see that they are starting to have the same problems with players leaving.
Even New Zealand centralised contract system is no longer preventing young and experience players from leaving to cash in and the player pool from the island are also getting less as players have more choice than just All Black rugby.
One of the biggest factors is the amount of rugby, teams in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are playing in the season. In the clubs up north players are better managed and travel time away from home is less which make not just playing conditions better for players but also family life. Players have a much better controlled player rotation in European clubs than with what we expect from our players, which also prolong their ability to play for longer.
How do one fix it? That question that is not going to be easy to answer.
One thing that some people believe is for World Rugby to move to a global season. Football have a successful system in the way they run the sport with global season separated by international windows in-between. If that will be the answer for rugby nobody will knows but this will be difficult however as different season in southern and northern makes this option difficult as to when will be the best for both worlds.
Player limitations for clubs and franchises will help and a control of players fee like in football seems to be working for them and may be one of the answers.
One can come up with thousands of miracle plans but no National Union nor the clubs or franchises will be able to make any changes and it can only be controlled by World Rugby to play a more dominate roll in this problem we face. But them one need to ask if World Rugby believe it is a problem?
So maybe we need to take a page from FIFA but only one page because we do not need the corruption and money laundering.
****What is your opinion….